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ID 1970s Japanese bike Speedway brand?

Old 07-16-17, 02:36 PM
  #1  
Litupbythecity
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ID 1970s Japanese bike Speedway brand?

Hey all,

Just picked up this bike and I have no idea what it is. The head badge says Speedway on it and there is a decal on the down tube that says "Pro Speedway." I've never heard of this brand of bike before. The frame has made in Japan decals and all the parts seem to be Japanese. The frame also has a decal that says "KCL special light seamless tubing."

Components:
- takagi tourney crankset
- Shimano 60 front derailleur
- Shimano 600 rear derailleur
- kuwahara cycle headset
- Shimano fingertip bar end shifters
- Sorin handlebars
- Dual pull dia compe center pull caliper brakes
- SR stem
- Ukai rims
- stamped dropouts with no RD -does this mean it's hi-ten steel?

Serial number is on the seat tube and starts with 76, which I'm guessing is the year. Built by Kuwahara?

Would appreciate some help!

Would post pics but apparently I'm not allowed to post urls until I have at least 10 posts?
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Old 07-16-17, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Litupbythecity View Post
Would post pics but apparently I'm not allowed to post urls until I have at least 10 posts?
Yep. In order to cut down on the Spam, 10 post minimum for pics and links. Just go to Introductions and say hello to 6 or 7 new forum members.
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Old 07-16-17, 03:27 PM
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Thanks for the tip.





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Old 07-16-17, 03:46 PM
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Hi Litup,

by your description the frame was made by Kuwahara. KCL tubing is Kuwahara decal.

The 76 at the start of the serial number is for frame manufactured in 1976.

At this time Kuwahara was being contracted to build frames for many brand names, large and small, around the world.

I have never seen the Speedway brand before.
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Old 07-16-17, 05:44 PM
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Based on the rear DR and crank it is 77/78 model it is very likely the actual frame was built in late 76. As for tubing I suspect it is strait gage tang seamless hi-ten which can be somewhat verified by a seat post size of 26.0.
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Old 07-16-17, 05:51 PM
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Based on the head badge, this is the Speedway brand of Kentucky based bicycle distributor, Louisville Cycle & Supply, owned by Zeldon Lipski. The company was formed shortly after Word War II and was originally a Schwinn dealer. When Schwinn decided to set up their own distribution network, LC&S developed a relationship with Howie Cohen of West Cost Cycle & Supply Co. and became a regional distributor of Azuki and Nishiki. They introduced the Speedway brand for the 1975 model year.

As noted, the subject bicycle was manufactured by Kuwahara of Japan. The serial number appears to start 76 11, in which case the frame was manufactured in November 1976 and it would be a 1977 model. Kuwahara manufactured a number of brands including Apollo, Azuki, Concord, Federal, Gear-Z, Hirame, Soma, Takara, World of Wheels and their eponymous KCL and Kuwahara brands.

Given, the year and components, it is almost certainly a hi-tensile steel but I wouldn't rule a butted set. As noted by zukahn1, the best indicator of the tubeset grade is the seat post diameter.
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Old 07-16-17, 06:34 PM
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Wow, thank you so much everyone. That's more information than I could have dreamed of. I picked it up mostly because I had no idea what it was and wanted to solve the mystery (well, have someone solve it for me).

It does appear to be a 26 mm seat post diameter (measured very crudely with an adjustable wrench...).

Seems to be a pretty low end bike then. Oh well, it was cheap. I'll probably clean it up, give it some new tape and try to sell it to some college kid next month.
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Old 07-17-17, 05:51 AM
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Yes, it's entry level but at the upper end of the category. As was typical with many of the private label brands of the era,they tried to bait the customer with a few components that were higher level than you would normally expect. Generally, this was done with the derailleurs, which most consumers used to judge the overall level of the bicycle. This strategy is clearly being employed by the presence of Shimano 600 derailleurs. The bar end shift levers are also an unusual touch for the level.
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Old 07-17-17, 05:53 AM
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If you want to maximize return, swap out those bar ends with a set of stem shifters. Recreational riders do not like bar end shifters, and they are worth $50 +/-. Meanwhile, stem shifters have little to no value, I keep a drawer full for jobs like this. Or hit a co-op. Hopefully the $$ from the bar ends will make you what you paid for the bike. At that point, making money on a "free" bike is pretty easy.
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